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At least 275,000 have fled their homes in Burkina Faso since April

Human rights groups warn of a humanitarian disaster

AT LEAST 275,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Burkina Faso since April as they face a choice between violence or hunger, the Norwegian Refugee Council said today.

Its new report says that an average of 13,000 people a week are fleeing increased violence in the west African nation, as armed gangs exploit deepening instability.

The aid organisation said that a slow and insufficient humanitarian response was worsening the situation as Burkina Faso’s government struggles to cope with the crisis.

Many of those fleeing are not receiving any assistance, leading to rising hunger among the population as they are unable to return home to retrieve food stocks.

“Hunger makes you scream for help, but no-one’s coming. People feel they are no longer part of Burkina Faso. We feel that we are not worthy of assistance,” said Bande, a mother who had just fled the eastern district of Mansila. 

“If the choice is dying on the way or dying of hunger in Mansila, better at least to die trying to get out,” she said.

Burkina Faso is one of the countries in Africa’s arid Sahel region that has been plagued by continuing jihadist violence. At least 80 people were killed in the north-east of the country last month.

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